03/28 13:39 CDT AP sources: Harris/Rales group submits bid for Commanders
AP sources: Harris/Rales group submits bid for Commanders
By ROB MAADDI and STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writers
PHOENIX (AP) --- A group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales has submitted a
fully financed bid for the NFL's Washington Commanders, according to two people
with knowledge of the situation.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday
because details of the bid have not been publicly announced.
The Harris/Rales group, which includes basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson,
is one of multiple suitors interested in purchasing the Commanders. Houston
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos
also have been in the running.
ESPN reported the Harris/Rales group submitted the bid at Snyder's $6 billion
asking price. Snyder had yet to accept an offer when the league's finance
committee met Monday so his future wasn't openly discussed.
"The information is very little to none in terms of the 31 of us (owners), and
probably even the league office right now," Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay
That quickly changed in less than 24 hours.
Harris, who owns the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and NHL's New Jersey Devils,
brought on Rales, a billionaire who also grew up in Maryland, just outside
Washington, earlier this year. Johnson, who has ownership experience with Major
League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers and others, later joined the group.
Three-quarters of the owners would need to approve the sale. A vote could take
place at the league meetings in May in Minnesota.
Last fall, with multiple investigations ongoing into the team's workplace
culture and finances, Snyder and his wife Tanya hired a firm to explore selling
part or all of the team. That decision came two weeks after Irsay said there
was "merit to remove" Snyder, which would take an unprecedented vote of 24 of
the other 31 owners.
Selling the team would avoid going down that road, though Snyder has angered
some of his colleagues by demanding that owners and the league indemnify him
against future legal liability and costs if he sells the team, a person told
"There would be no reason for us to give any sort of unusual indemnification,"
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Snyder's situation has changed their
"I think that it's a little more formal, but I think it's that way because of
the various issues that are involved here," Jones said. "It's not
?lovey-dovey,' but it's not really strained in any way."
Snyder and the team are still under investigation by former U.S. Attorney Mary
Jo White, who was retained by the league to look into various aspects of the
organization stemming from a congressional review into workplace misconduct
that also included a referral to the Federal Trade Commission for potential
A spokesperson declined to comment when asked if Snyder had refused to speak
with White, saying it's a confidential matter between the club and the league.
The sale allows Snyder to avoid speaking to White, but NFL Commissioner Roger
Goodell previously said the findings of White's report will be made public at
the conclusion of her investigation. One person said the report will still be
released even if Snyder sells the Commanders.
In a statement responding to news of bids being submitted for the Commanders,
lawyers for more than 40 former team employees said their clients want an
assurance from the league that the report will be released.
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz said, "Allowing him to sell the team at
what will certainly be a large premium without full accountability for his
misconduct would be a travesty of justice."
Dozens of former employees detailing incidents of sexual harassment from their
time with Washington beginning in the summer of 2020 prompted the first league
investigation by Beth Wilkinson, which led to a $10 million fine and Snyder
stepping away from day-to-day operations for a period of time. A lack of a
written report sparked the investigation by the U.S. House Committee on
Oversight and Reform, which found Snyder played a role in the organization's
toxic workplace culture.
Whyno reported from Washington.
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